Sunday, August 16, 2009

Getting There

It will be a day of waiting.

A day of anxiety.

We fly to Dublin tonight in order to be there for the World Down Syndrome Congress. We are flying in a couple days early in order to adapt to the time zone change, something we do less well as we get older. I am not a nervous flyer. Well, more honestly, I am no longer a fearful flyer. At one time I was terrified of flight. But after many years of travelling for a living, after thousands of flights, that fear has abated. Now I simply marvel at the process.

Becoming disabled had added a new wrinkle in the process of flying. I have to depend upon the help and kindness of strangers. Some paid, some not. I'll arrive at the airport with Joe and go to 'Special Services' to check in and then be assisted the long distance from the counter to the departure lounge. We double check the seating arrangements and then the great 'push' happens. I am big. I am heavy. I am on wheels. I know it takes work to push me. That knowledge is bad enough. Some who work there are gracious, some are not. Some are kindly, some are resentful. It's the luck of the draw. I worry, now and I will worry all day, about who's hands I fall into.

On the plane itself I'll be seated beside Joe, so that's OK. But it's the person in the seat ahead of me. Standing up is no longer really easy for me. I have to use the back of the seat ahead of me and the back of my own seat to brace myself and then to rise. In order to do this I have to have the seat ahead of me in 'the full upright position'. I'm going to have to ask. Sometimes the person is cool. But many more times than you will imagine, they are not. This could be an easy thing or a difficult thing, it all depends on who's hands I fall into.

When we travel by car to events I have no travel jitters. Joe and I work so well together on these trips, knowing what each other needs and managing to arrange for both to be happy. This is because we depend on no one but each other. I like that.

I am so looking forward to Dublin.

It's just the getting there.


wendy said...

I hope you only fall into the hands of those who are gracious and kind.

rickismom said...

I recently traveled mwith my daughter to the US to visit. Half the reason I took my daughter was to have someone whose seat I could invade a BIT without complications. But I undersdtand that others would not want me spilling over into their seat. What I could not handle so well was the fellow who for one leg of our flight sat next to Ricki and covered his face for the whole journey and was a real jerk.

Kristin said...

I hope you have a wonderful trip and are surrounded by people who are as thoughtful as you are.

Erika Quirk said...

Good luck at the conference and on the trip! I was just at the 3rd annual Florida Down Syndrome conference yesterday. I went to a session by Terri Couwenhoven about body boundaries. She mentioned your philosophy to teach to the conservative norm. I resisted the urge to raise my hand saying oh oh oh I read his blog(!) I did put down on my input sheet for the conference that I would love to hear you speak sometime. (I have a 5 year old daughter with Downs)

RusW said...

"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

Jane said...

Kia ora from New Zealand. I work in the service that assesses and allocates services for disabled people in our community. My work colleagues & I have been following your blog for a while now and we love the different perspective it gives us. My friend Maree Kirk is presenting a poster about her PhD research at the WDSC. I'll get her to come and say 'Hi' cos its nearly as good as meeting you- Good luck with the flight - I'm sure the Congress will make it worth it!!!

Val Bailey said...

My husband saw you at the Canadian Down Syndrome Congress this May (I attended another session, so we could cover off as much as possible). I just finished "Just Say Know" in two hours and can't thank you enough for the wealth of information you provided, as well as your straight forward approach. My little girl will be 5 in November and we now have more tools to help keep her safe and informed as she grows. Thanks again!


Belinda said...

Hoping you made it safely and comfortably to the Emerald Isle.

Brenda said...

May your journey be, above all else, safe. And may you meet angels at every turn, willing and wanting to make your trip a pleasant one.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
My son Robert and I are also in Dublin now for the DS conference. We will surely come and say hi. Looking forward to listen to you in person.

Shan said...

Wow that must be super stressful - especially the seatback thing...people are awfully conscious of their personal space while flying.